[Orson Welles ][ The Iliad ][ Trojan War ][ Achilles ][ Hektor ][ Patroclus ][ Zues ][ Hades ][ Odin ][ Thor ]
ORSON WELLES (1915 - 1985)
The name Orson Welles is one of the biggest in the history of the cinema. His fame began with some of the best Shakespeare plays as "Macbeth" and "Julius Caesar". Later he directs many movies with little budgets he made classics like "The Stranger", "Journey Into Fear" and many other. Some of his projects were created during his whole live. ("Don Quixote"). Other were not completed. His movie "Citizen Kane" got Oscar in 1941 and is one of the best movies ever made.
The Iliad is set in
the final year of the Trojan War, fought between the Greeks and the
inhabitants of the city of Troy. The legendary conflict forms the background
for the central plot of the story: the wrath of the Greek hero Achilles.
Insulted by his commander in chief, Agamemnon, the young warrior Achilles
withdraws from the war, leaving his fellow Greeks to suffer terrible defeats
at the hands of the Trojans. Achilles rejects the Greeks' attempts at
reconciliation but finally relents to some extent, allowing his companion
Patroclus to lead his troops in his place. Patroclus is slain, and Achilles,
filled with fury and remorse, turns his wrath against the Trojans, whose
leader, Hector (son of King Priam), he kills in single combat. The poem closes
as Achilles surrenders the corpse of Hector to Priam for burial, recognizing a
certain kinship with the Trojan king as they both face the tragedies of
mortality and bereavement.
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War, in Greek legend, famous war waged by the Greeks against the city of
Troy. The tradition is believed to reflect a real war between the Greeks of
the late Mycenaean period and the inhabitants of the Troad, or Troas, in
Anatolia, part of present-day Turkey. Modern archaeological excavations have
shown that Troy was destroyed by fire sometime between 1230 BC and 1180 BC,
and that the war may have resulted from the desire either to plunder the
wealthy city or to put an end to Troy's commercial control of the Dardanelles.
Legendary accounts of the war traced its origin to a golden apple, inscribed “for the fairest” and thrown by Eris, goddess of discord, among the heavenly guests at the wedding of Peleus, the ruler of Myrmidons, and Thetis, one of the Nereids. The award of the apple to Aphrodite, goddess of love, by Paris, son of King Priam of Troy, secured for Paris the favor of the goddess and the love of the beautiful Helen of Troy, wife of Menelaus, the king of Sparta. Helen went with Paris to Troy, and an expedition to avenge the injury to Menelaus was placed under the command of Agamemnon, king of Mycenae. Agamemnon's force included many famous Greek heroes, the most noted of whom were Achilles, Patroclus, the two Ajaxes, Teucer, Nestor, Odysseus, and Diomedes.
After the Trojans refused to restore Helen to Menelaus, the Greek warriors assembled at the Bay of Aulis and proceeded to Troy in 1000 ships. The siege lasted ten years, the first nine of which were uneventful. In the tenth year, Achilles withdrew from battle because of his anger with Agamemnon; Achilles' action furnished Homer with the theme of the Iliad. To avenge the death of his friend Patroclus, Achilles returned to battle and killed Hector, the principal Trojan warrior. Subsequent events, described in later epic poems, included Achilles' victories over Penthesilea, queen of the Amazons, and Memnon, king of Ethiopia, and the death of Achilles at the hands of Paris.
The city of Troy was captured at last by treachery. A force of Greek warriors gained entrance to the city by hiding in the interior of a large wooden horse. Subsequently the Greeks sacked and burned the city. Only a few Trojans escaped, the most famous being Aeneas, who led the other survivors to what is present-day Italy; this story is told by Virgil in the Aeneid.
The return of the Greek warriors to Greece inspired epic poems, the most celebrated being that of Odysseus, whose 10-year wanderings and arrival in Ithaca are told in Homer's Odyssey.
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Achilles, in Greek
mythology, greatest of the Greek warriors in the Trojan War. He was the son of
the sea nymph Thetis and Peleus, king of the Myrmidons of Thessaly. When he
was a child his mother dipped him into the River Styx to make him immortal.
The waters made him invulnerable except for the heel by which his mother held
him. Achilles fought many battles during the 10-year siege of Troy. When the
Mycenaean king Agamemnon seized the captive maiden Briseis from him, Achilles
withdrew the Myrmidons from battle and sulked in his tent. The Trojans,
emboldened by his absence, attacked the Greeks and drove them into headlong
retreat. Then Patroclus, Achilles' friend and companion, begged Achilles to
lend him his armor and let him lead the Myrmidons into battle. Achilles
consented. When Patroclus was killed by the Trojan prince Hector, the
grief-stricken Achilles returned to battle, slew Hector, and dragged his body
in triumph behind his chariot. He later permitted Priam, king of Troy, to
ransom Hector's body. Achilles fought his last battle with Memnon, king of the
Ethiopians. After killing the king, Achilles led the Greeks to the walls of
Troy. There he was mortally wounded in the heel by Paris. The quarrel between
Achilles and Agamemnon, the subsequent battle, and the ransoming of Hector's
body are recounted in the Iliad.
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Hector, in Greek
mythology, the eldest son of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy, and husband
of Andromache. In Homer's Iliad, Hector is the greatest of the Trojan
warriors. As commander of the Trojan forces he is instrumental in holding off
the Greek army for nine years and finally succeeds in forcing the Greeks back
to their ships. During the battle, however, Hector kills Patroclus, the bosom
friend of Achilles, the greatest of the Greek warriors. Achilles has withdrawn
from the fighting because of a quarrel with King Agamemnon, the leader of the
Greek forces, but in order to avenge the death of Patroclus, he returns to the
battlefield. Grief-stricken and frenzied, Achilles pursues Hector three times
around the walls of Troy, kills him, and then ties his body to his chariot and
drags it around the walls and back to Patroclus's funeral pyre. Learning that
the Greeks are withholding burial rites from his son, the sorrowing Priam
makes his way behind Greek battle lines with the aid of the god Hermes and
begs Achilles to relinquish Hector's corpse. Moved by the sorrow of the aged
king, Achilles agrees to yield the corpse and declares a truce to permit the
Trojans to honor Hector with a suitable burial. A description of the funeral
honors paid to Hector concludes the Iliad. In contrast to the fierce and
alienated Achilles, Hector is depicted as a devoted family man and chivalrous
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Patroclus, in Greek
mythology, dearest friend of the hero Achilles whom he accompanied to the
Trojan War. In the tenth year of the conflict Achilles withdrew his troops,
the Myrmidons, from combat because of a quarrel with Agamemnon, commander of
the Greek forces. Without Achilles, the Greeks began to lose to the Trojans.
Finally, as the Trojans began to burn the Greek ships, Patroclus persuaded
Achilles to allow him to lead the Myrmidons to the rescue. Clad in Achilles'
armor, Patroclus led the Greeks to victory, forcing the Trojans back to the
walls of their city. In his moment of glory, however, Patroclus was slain by
the Trojan commander, Hector. To avenge his friend's death, Achilles rejoined
the battle and killed Hector.
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Zeus, in Greek
mythology, the god of the sky and ruler of the Olympian gods. Zeus corresponds
to the Roman god Jupiter.
Zeus was considered, according to Homer, the father of the gods and of mortals. He did not create either gods or mortals; he was their father in the sense of being the protector and ruler both of the Olympian family and of the human race. He was lord of the sky, the rain god, and the cloud gatherer, who wielded the terrible thunderbolt. His breastplate was the aegis, his bird the eagle, his tree the oak. Zeus presided over the gods on Mount Olympus in Thessaly (Thessalia). His principal shrines were at Dodona, in Epirus, the land of the oak trees and the most ancient shrine, famous for its oracle, and at Olympia, where the Olympic Games were celebrated in his honor every fourth year. The Nemean games, held at Nemea, northwest of Argos, were also dedicated to Zeus.
Zeus was the youngest son of the TitansCronus and Rhea and the brother of the deities Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Demeter, and Hera. According to one of the ancient myths of the birth of Zeus, Cronus, fearing that he might be dethroned by one of his children, swallowed them as they were born. Upon the birth of Zeus, Rhea wrapped a stone in swaddling clothes for Cronus to swallow and concealed the infant god in Crete (Kriti), where he was fed on the milk of the goat Amalthaea and reared by nymphs. When Zeus grew to maturity, he forced Cronus to disgorge the other children, who were eager to take vengeance on their father. In the war that followed, the Titans fought on the side of Cronus, but Zeus and the other gods were successful, and the Titans were consigned to the abyss of Tartarus. Zeus henceforth ruled over the sky, and his brothers Poseidon and Hades were given power over the sea and the underworld, respectively. The earth was to be ruled in common by all three.
Beginning with the writings of the Greek poet Homer, Zeus is pictured in two very different ways. He is represented as the god of justice and mercy, the protector of the weak, and the punisher of the wicked. As husband to his sister Hera, he is the father of Ares, the god of war; Hebe, the goddess of youth; Hephaestus, the god of fire; and Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth. At the same time, Zeus is described as falling in love with one woman after another and resorting to all kinds of tricks to hide his infidelity from his wife. Stories of his escapades were numerous in ancient mythology, and many of his offspring were a result of his love affairs with both goddesses and mortal women. It is believed that, with the development of a sense of ethics in Greek life, the idea of a lecherous, sometimes ridiculous father god became distasteful, so later legends tended to present Zeus in a more exalted light. His many affairs with mortals are sometimes explained as the wish of the early Greeks to trace their lineage to the father of the gods.
Zeus's image was represented in sculptural works as a kingly, bearded figure. The most celebrated of all statues of Zeus was Phidias's gold and ivory colossus at Olympia.
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Hades, in Greek
mythology, god of the dead. He was the son of the Titans Cronus and Rhea and
the brother of Zeus and Poseidon. When the three brothers divided up the
universe after they had deposed their father, Cronus, Hades was awarded the
underworld. There, with his queen, Persephone, whom he had abducted from the
world above, he ruled the kingdom of the dead. Although he was a grim and
pitiless god, unappeased by either prayer or sacrifice, he was not evil. In
fact, he was known also as Pluto, lord of riches, because both crops and
precious metals were believed to come from his kingdom below ground.
The underworld itself was often called Hades. It was divided into two regions: Erebus, where the dead pass as soon as they die, and Tartarus, the deeper region, where the Titans had been imprisoned. It was a dim and unhappy place, inhabited by vague forms and shadows and guarded by Cerberus, the three-headed, dragon-tailed dog. Sinister rivers separated the underworld from the world above, and the aged boatman Charon ferried the souls of the dead across these waters. Somewhere in the darkness of the underworld Hades' palace was located. It was represented as a many-gated, dark and gloomy place, thronged with guests, and set in the midst of shadowy fields and an apparition-haunted landscape. In later legends the underworld is described as the place where the good are rewarded and the wicked punished.
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THE OLD GERMAN MYTHS - WHO ARE ODIN AND THOR
Odin - the chief god of
Norse mythology. A sky god, he lived in Asgard, at the top of the world-tree,
and from the Valkyries receives the souls of half of the heroic slain
warriors, feasting with them in his great hall, Valhalla; the rest are sent to
feast with Freya.
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Thor - the son of Odin and a member of the Aesir, he was the god of thunder and the main enemy of the giants, smashing their heads with his mighty hammer Mjollnir which to wield he needed iron gloves and a belt of strength. Mjollnir would return to Thor's hand after being thrown and was symbolic of lightning. Thor rode around middle-earth in his wagon which was drawn by two goats. He lived at Thruthheim in his hall, Bilskinir. He was foremost of the gods to the common man, who would call on him to ensure fertility, and widely worshiped. Hammer shaped amulets, a symbol of Thor because it was his weapon, were worn about the neck well into the christianization of Scandinavia.
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